Tuesday, April 1, 2014

El Anatsui and Obiora Udechukwu in Conversation, April 3

On April 3, Mt. Holyoke College Museum of Art will host a historic event: a public conversation between El Anatsui and Obiora Udechukwu who for many years were the masters, respectively of the sculpture and painting studios at Nsukka. They took the idea and vision of Uche Okeke the legendary founder of the Nsukka School, and turned them into the fertile ground from which grew an amazing number of artists and scholars that have made their mark in today's art world: Tayo Adenaike, Ndidi Dike, Olu Oguibe, Sylvester Ogbechie, Krydz Ikwuemesi, Marcia Kure, Nnenna Okore, Ugochukwu Smooth Nzewi, Bright Eke, Emeka Ogboh, Ozioma Onuzulike, and many others.

One reason I very much look forward to this event--apart from getting together with my favorite teachers and former colleagues in my days as a young teacher at Nsukka!--is that Udechukwu is one artist-scholar that has known Anatsui more than anyone else out there. (I still return to his short but perceptive 1982 essay in a catalog for one of Anatsui's earliest solo exhibitions). And Udechukwu has, since their years as young artist-teachers at Nsukka, and as Anatsui's work took to the stratosphere, recorded many of their conversations, as a part of his incredible archives of interviews with artists, novelists, poets, critics that shaped modern/contemporary Nigerian art...But this one, at this stage in their careers, is something special.

I cannot thank enough John Stomberg, director of the MHCMA, for supporting, and making this even possible.

The conversation will be moderated by exhibition co-curator and Five College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in African Art and Architecture, Amanda Gilvin.

Thursday, 3 April
5:30 p.m.

Gamble Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College
Free and open to the public
Reception to follow

El Anatsui's exhibition, El Anatsui: New Worlds, is ongoing at the MHCMA, until June 14.

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